Saturday, January 31, 2015


And by the way, we will bless throats after all Masses Sunday, including the EF, in honor of Saint Blase and in anticipation of his feast day on the 3rd. Candles will be blessed for the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Monday, also known as the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple and also known as Candlemas!
Sunday February 1st is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Ordinary Calendar of the Roman Church in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Blah!

However, Sunday, February 1st begins the Holy Season of Septuagesima and is Septuagesima Sunday in the Extraordinary Time of the Roman Calendar in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Yeah!

What a pity and I mean a pity that the Holy Season of Septuagesima was cruelly and unnecessarily erased from the Ordinary Form of the Calendar. My poor parishioners who only go to the Ordinary Form Mass will be caught off guard when Lent arrives and they have not spiritually prepared for it.

Now with the Extraordinary Form back in full swing, we have a split personality Church when it comes to the calendar, liturgy and Church. It doesn't have to be that way. Restore the holy season Septuagesima Holy Father. It wouldn't take but your word for it to be done. 

As fate would have it, our first of the month Sunday 2 PM Extraordinary Form High Mass begins the wonderful holy season of Septuagesima. The color of the vestment is violet.

This is a brief description of Setuagesima and the Mass for Septuagesima on Sunday:

No one is quite sure why Septuagesima Sunday bears that name. Literally, Septuagesima means "seventieth" in Latin, but contrary to common error, it is not 70 days before Easter, but only 63. The most likely explanation is that Septuagesima Sunday and Sexagesima Sunday simply derived their names from Quinqagesima Sunday, which is 49 days before Easter, or 50 if you include Easter. (Quinqagesima means "fiftieth.")

In any case, it was common for early Christians to begin the Lenten fast immediately after Septuagesima Sunday. Just as Lent today begins 46 days before Easter, since Sundays are never a day of fasting (see "How Are the 40 Days of Lent Calculated?"), so, in the early Church, Saturdays and Thursdays were considered fast-free days. In order to fit in 40 days of fasting before Easter, therefore, the fast had to start two weeks earlier than today.    (


Anonymous said...

A common explanation of septua/sexi/quinqua-gesima terminology:

--Septuagesima Sunday, likely so-called because — as the 63rd day before Easter — it falls in the 7th (septimus) decade or 10-day period before Easter;
--Sexagesima Sunday, which is the 56th day before Easter and falls in the 6th (sextus) decade before Easter; and
--Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the 49th day before Easter and falls in the 5th (quintus) decade of days before Easter.

John Nolan said...

In the photograph the celebrant and one of the four servers (three too many) are holding microphones. When the priest ascends to the altar, assuming he doesn't trip over the trailing wire, what does he do with the mike? Does he continue to hold it for all the audible parts of the Mass? Which hand does he hold it in for the Dominus vobiscum?

Keep amplification for the Novus Ordo where it belongs. (Yes, I know that Pius XII had a couple on the papal altar, disguised as reliquaries.)

Anonymous said...

So, in the Extraordinary Form, you are pretending it is Lent when it is not.

Well, there's a good reason to restore the old calendar!

Anonymous said...

"So, in the Extraordinary Form, you are pretending it is Lent when it is not."

It's sometimes called pre-Lent--a season of preparation for Lent, a time when we make the transition from the joy of the Christmas season to the penitence of Lent.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - Microphones can be pesky and stories about them are numerous. I'll add one more.

In Spain last October, I visited the cathedral in Madrid. As we wandered around in the apse, I looked through the screen only to see the very lengthy microphone cords looped together and hanging from the volutes of the columns that are part of the altar decorations.

These coils were out of sight of anyone in the nave, but I thought, "Oh No!" Not even here!

Marc said...

Preparing for Lent is of very ancient origin. There is a need to prepare both physically and spiritually for the great fast.

In the West, Lent formerly required actual fasting, so there was a period of three weeks to prepare for that fast with lighter fasting.

Rood Screen said...

I'm not sure the average Catholic layman can benefit from the broader calendar of the EF. For this reason, the simplified calendar seems the better choice for them. For other Catholics, these weeks of preparation can provide for a fuller, more conscious and more active participation in the Lenten rites.

Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,

I suspect the photograph is from the late Sixties.

John Nolan said...

The Anglicans also have two calendars; one based on the Book of Common Prayer and the other on the new Common Worship. The former has Septuagesima (the Collect, Epistle and Gospel being identical to those in the classic Roman Rite). The latter has 'Ordinary Time' and a three-year, three-reading Lectionary.

Restoring the season of Septuagesima would require more than wearing violet vestments and omitting the Gloria; it would require a rearranging of both the OF Lectionary and the chants (the Introit 'Circumdederunt me', for example has been moved to the Saturday before Lent 5, formerly Passion Sunday). And I haven't even mentioned the Office for the season.

The Ordinariate calendar might retain the names Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima for the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday, but it doesn't mean much since they are stuck with the OF Lectionary which as we all know is still in 'Ordinary Time'.

I shall be attending the EF for the next three Sundays otherwise I shall be compelled to change seasons. Remember that bit in Sacrosanctum Concilium about 'no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them'? It wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Rood Screen said...

Microphones are helpful during the sermon, and do not seem to detract too much from the pulpit. Other than that, there's little need for them at Mass, except as an aid to the hearing impaired.

PBdC said...

Hahaha, Father Allan, don't complain to the Holy Father about changing Ordinary Time into Septuagesima. If you do, Father Kavanaugh might insinuate that you are calling into question the soundness of the reform of the calendar which you should never do because the current calendar is now the legal and the "righteous" one...

And by the way, that is the whole point why we can have blogs like this, which while remaining loyal and respectful of the Holy Father, nevertheless can raise valid questions about the soundness of many things which the Magisterium of the Popes of recent history have allowed into the Church, and not a few of them with questionable and even disastrous effects.

It also means to say that we are not Papolatrists... We are not Pope worshippers. Though we believe in Papal infallibility, we will not take it sitting down as if we don't have the gift of knowledge and understanding when something is so contrary to Scripture and/or Tradition albeit respecting still the person of the Holy Father.

And that belief in the exalted dignity of the Petrine office doesn't mean we have to believe and hunker down in obeisance to every footstep or every movement of the Pope's lips.

That is why we can raise questions about communion on the hand, about altar girls, about the Mass, about the calendar, about the wholesale abolition of sacred things although some people say 99.9% of people in the pews don't care about these things.

And I am wondering too why a lot of modernists nowadays have all of a sudden become triumphalistic montanists.

John Nolan said...

By the way, if you think the Pauline/Bugnini Missal is a dog's breakfast, just take a look at Common Worship - the options are bewildering.

Cranmer was an out-and-out heretic but he realized that people ordered their lives on the liturgical calendar, and so did not interfere with it too much. 20th century liturgists, in their comfortable academic environments did not perceive any connection between quotidian concerns and the liturgy which they saw as being essentially didactic.

The result is the Novus Ordo in the Catholic Church and its equivalent in the Anglican community. The NO is not inane; some of the results of liturgical research in the 20th century have born fruit in it. But I would submit that its basic premise is flawed. It was imposed on a largely bewildered laity by a clerical cabal with the pope (Paul VI) at its head; nothing remotely like it had ever happened before; and the damaging effects are still with us.

If there is a disjunct in the calendar it is entirely the fault of those who disrupted it for reasons of their own. Yet there are devotees of the New Order who (absurdly) blame the Old for the dichotomy.

Marc said...

The larger problem is the substitution of the ecclesial and communal experience of Lent, with its attendant fasting, for the current pietistic practice of "giving up something for Lent."

If you returned to the ancient custom of actually fasting during Lent, the resulting calendar issues would almost necessarily be resolved since you would once again need preparatory weeks prior to Lent.

Until you the fix the praxis, skewed as it is by the erroneous pietistic theology underpinning your current Lenten practice, any return to an older calendar is merely an aesthetic change with no real import.

Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,

Thank you for your learned insights.

I once met Archbishop Runcie in Dallas, and was very impressed by him. I naïvely hoped he and JPII would find a way towards reconciliation.

The importance of Anglicanism in the USA is hard to gauge, with Anglican clergy having largely opposed American independence, and the "Episcopal Church" having quickly become only a very minor force in American religious life (apart from the New England elite).

At any rate, outside of a few Commonwealth nations in Africa, it's hard to discern any effective practices within and specific to Anglicanism, liturgical or otherwise, which we should copy. Therefore, it seems best for us to refer to our own liturgical and evangelical traditions as we seek reform.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, I had a sore throat the day the CCD teacher marched us into the Church to have the priest do the St. Blaise Day throat blessing, and my sore throat went away when the candles touched my throat. True story.

Rood Screen said...


It could be that you were highly susceptible to suggestion. The blessing on Saint Blaise Day merely commemorates a saint who was preserved from starvation by eating candles while in captivity, and who interceded with God to heal the sick. The blessing with the two candles is not a magical cure.

Rood Screen said...

Father McDonald,

Where's your daily post? Each morning, between the Office and Mass, I read your new post whilst listening to NPR. It's become an essential part of my daily ritual!

Anonymous said...

Whenever I have been to an Episcopal Church, mainly for baptisms and confirmations, I've usually seen the "old" calendar in use, such as the ABC Sunday after Epiphany and XYZ Sunday after Pentecost. "Ordinary time" sounds too bland and secular. I suppose the (Eastern) Orthodox have a different calendar as their liturgical year begins in September.

Marc said...

The Orthodox calendar is different in some ways and similar in others. The same scheme is there, but there are more fasting periods, Easter is calculated using the conciliar scheme, feasts are not "transferred" and saints are celebrated on the date of their falling asleep (unlike in the Roman Church, where dates are sometimes moved, there is no problem in the Orthodox Church with commemorating multiple saints and events on the same day even if it's Sunday). Obviously some of the saints are different and some are the same.

Also, Great Lent is longer and is preceded by three weeks of preparation.

Anonymous said...

JBS: "The blessing on Saint Blaise Day merely commemorates a saint who was preserved from starvation by eating candles while in captivity..."

What? I thought it was because he cured a child who was choking on a fish bone. Hence the blessing of the throat...

Anonymous said...

Get a life y'all....

Carol H. said...

Bee, I heard the same thing. In fact, that is what I told a man who visited St Joseph's for the EF on Sunday. He's not Catholic and asked me to explain what was going on.

Carol H. said...

Anon @ 6:57, We are hoping to gain eternal life, and I am praying that you will find the same.

Rood Screen said...


There are varied accounts of the saint's life, struggles and healings, but the point of the blessing on his feast day is to commemorate the saint himself, not to commemorate a specific event in his life or to prompt a particular cure.